Brazilian coach finds Pak soccer on right track

LAHORE – Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s head coach Jader Campello from Brazil, who guided PAF to A-Division Soccer after a lapse of five years, is convinced the standard of the game in Pakistan has greatly improved in recent years and Pakistan were unfortunate not to capitalize on the chances they received.

“Pakistani football has much potential, there are some good players and some good teams, and of course there is no lack of money, and facilities are satisfactory,” said Rio-de Janeiro born coach Campello, who is on a diplomatic mission to Pakistan and has been serving as the PAF football team coach since 2006.

Jader Emmanoel dos Santos Campello, born on 24 November 1961, joined 1986 National Champions following an understanding made between the Chiefs of Air Staff of Brazil and Pakistan and he believes there are still some hurdles that need to be overcome for football to blossom in the Pakistan who staged the third AFC President Cup 2007 in memorable fashion. “What’s lacking is a sense of professionalism, while some obstructions make it difficult for [players from the region] to adapt abroad.

“Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) is lucky to have dynamic President in the shape of Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat whose step in bringing foreign-based Pakistani footballers is really a good one, and it will help a lot to Pakistani teams, adding that many Pakistan-born players are playing football in all parts of world.

He said that Pakistan have talented footballers in far-flung areas. PAF’s Khalid Khan, who conceded only one goal in PFF League mission, and Saleh Khan, who netted the goal of his life at Jinnah Stadium, belongs to Khyber Agency – a tribal area in FATA region.

He also praised the efforts of PFF management under superb President and praised all out supports given by PAF team manager Wng. Cmdr Syed Mehmood Hussain Zaidi and Assistant Coach Mirza Najeeb Ullah Najmi.

“Pakistan need to initiate a culture of keeping physical trainers both with the national side as well as at club level if they really want to earn a name at global level in football. Along with skill development, the physical development of the players should also be taken into consideration as it is crucial in cultivating quality players,” added by Campello who said that he is being paid by the Brazilian government for serving as coach to PAF, disclosing his contract with the PAF was for two years when he joined them in October 2006, but has been given an extension till April 2009.

PAF leapt to A-Division Soccer on 31 January when they edged out Pakistan Railways 2-1 in the final of Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) League-Departmental Phase at Jinnah Stadium, Islamabad. After the qualification of PAF, the coming 14-team Pakistan Premiership 2009 will now be comprised of all services teams viz Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy and PAF. The airmen went down to B-Division in 2003 when they failed to finished among top eight in the 16th PFF President Cup at Quetta.

He stressed that the use of European and Latin American coaches can help the game in Pakistan improve further, “but only it they are given enough time to work, and plan properly. Bahraini trainer Salman Ahmed Sharida did fine job for Pakistan in his 15-month contract and helped them winning Colombo ‘s South Asian Games three years ago. I hope Berlin’s Antoine Hey or Budapest’s Bertalan Bicskei will bring more glory to Pakistan soccer once appointed.”

“One day we will see a Pakistani team which can compete at the same level as those from East Asia and Arab, but only when football will no longer be seen as just a game,” Campello concluded.

Source: The Nation